Saturday 15 June 2019

36 Hours in Amsterdam: A Food & Drink Guide


If there's one European capital that has become increasingly popular in recent years it has to be Amsterdam. Once a place that was only associated with its red light district and its liberal attitude towards cannabis is now seen as a cultural tourist destination and one of the prettiest cities that keeps popping up all over Instagram.
After reading numerous articles on how the Dutch tourism authorities are looking to tackle the issues of over-tourism I was a bit apprehensive about finding overcrowded streets and tourist traps. Instead, I was charmed by the gingerbread looking houses, the picturesque canals and the general laid-back atmosphere that fills the city. Glorious sunshine and blue skies may have helped me fall under Amsterdam's spell, making me want to move to one of the quirky boathouses that I spotted along the canals.

Holland isn't an obvious foodie destination but after I had booked my flights I went on a mission to plan a busy schedule of eating and drinking around the city, this is the way I always travel after all. The only tourist attraction I visited was the Van Gogh museum which needs to be booked in advance as entrance tickets are restricted and tend to sell out weeks in advance. Mr FFID and I actually managed to see quite a bit of the different neighbourhoods, walking the equivalent of a half-marathon each day between all the cafés, restaurants and bars on our list. We only had one disappointing lunch in Restaurant Breda on our first day (rather uninspired and overpriced food) but apart from that, I'm happy to recommend all the below places.

Café Winkel 43

Café Winkel 43 in the Joordan district is known for serving one of the best apple pies in the city. The outdoor terrace was full to the brim with tourists and locals alike indulging on their homemade warm apple pie and a long queue started to form just after we had arrived. The pie has a gorgeous rich crust and a delicious apple and cinnamon filling, better eaten with a big blob of whipped cream. A local who sat beside me confessed that she always brings visitors there, it's a true institution.

Café Winkel 43, Noodermrkt 43, 1015 NA Amsterdam;


In a tranquil street of the Haarlemmerbuurt district, Toki looks like the perfect neighbourhood café. Its interiors is a blend of Scandi and Japanese influences, it's bright and sleek and basically made for hanging out but also calls to be Instagrammed. They serve coffee from Berlin's roastery Bonanza Coffee as well as craft beers and wine. The food menu sounded interesting too. 

Toki, Binnen Dommersstraat 15, 1013 HK Amsterdam;

Brouwerij 't IJ

You will find Brouwerij 't IJ next to the only windmill in the Dutch capital. Brouwerij 't IJ has been making craft beer since 1985.  This brewpub may be a little out of the way but well worth a visit for its beer garden alone if you happen to visit on a sunny day. Tasting trays of their core range are available for a tenner and they also do brewery tours at the weekend. Be aware of the opening hours, it's only open from 2 to 8 pm.

Brouwerij 't IJ,  Funenkade 7, 1018 AL Amsterdam,

Glou Glou

This charming wine bar in the heart of De Pijp stole my heart. It's dedicated to natural wines and their small plates are simple French style nibbles such as snails, cheese, rillettes, duck confit, etc. They also have a lovely outdoor terrace from which you can watch the world go by in the most continental way. Highly recommended!

Glou Glou, Tweede van der Helststraat 3, 1073 AE Amsterdam;

Brouwerij Troost

Another great location for craft beer lovers is Brouwerij Troost, which is only a few minutes away from Glou Glou. This brewpub offers a selection of their award-winning craft beers, pub food and also distill their own gin. It's spacious, lively and fun.

Brouwerij Troost, Cornelis Troostplein 21, 1072 JJ Amsterdam;

Box Sociaal

Box Sociaal happened to be close to our hotel and I'm glad we had breakfast there. This Aussie owned spot is open all day, combining locally roasted speciality coffee, brunch dishes, craft beer, organic wines and casual dining at night. I didn't go for their brilliantly named 'Mortgage on toast' but was rather impressed by their 'Sandwich of Liberty' a delicious adaptation of peanut butter jam sandwich in the form of French toast. Their breakfast sandwich was also the stuff of (hangover) dreams. 

Box Sociaal, Plantage Middenlaan 30A, 1018 DG Amsterdam;

Black Gold 

Another chilled place for coffee is Black Gold, hidden in the pretty Nieuw Markt area. Not only can you enjoy good speciality coffee there but also great tunes, as it operates as a vinyl record shop too. The coffee comes from White Label Coffee, an Amsterdam-based roastery. It's small and the seats are mostly benches located along the walls. Lovely for a caffeine pit stop.

Black Gold, Korte Koningsstraat 13 H, 1011 EX Amsterdam;


In a red painted building close to the IJ river, Choux is a modern Dutch cuisine restaurant with an emphasis on vegetables. The 3-course lunch menu (€36) featured dishes made with seasonal ingredients that were delicately plated. Overall a nice experience with good service in a cool industrial chic setting but portions were rather small. Mr FFID wasn't convinced, I found it interesting enough to recommend it.

Choux, De Ruijterkade 128, 1011 AC Amsterdam;

Fromagerie Abraham Kef

Fromagerie Abraham Kef has several locations across the city, including a cheese bar with a tasting room behind the Central Station. Their shop on Marnixstraat was tiny but the staff were extremely helpful and helped us to choose a selection of quality Dutch cheeses to bring home. They don't limit themselves to local cheeses, they also have the good stuff from all over continental Europe. 

Fromagerie Abraham Kef, Marnixstraat 192B, 1016 TJ Amsterdam;

Proeflokaal Arendsnest

This craft beer pub looks more traditional (by that I probably mean 'less hipster') than the ones previously recommended. Their choice of 52 Dutch beer on tap can be quite overwhelming at first but it promises to keep any beer drinker busy for an evening or two. They also have some typical Dutch bar snacks like cheeses and cured sausages with pickles and mustard on their food menu. 

 Herengracht 90, 1015 BS Amsterdam;

I wish I had more time to try more but that's an excuse to come back!

Disclaimer: this is an independent post, I paid for all my food and drinks.